Mount Shasta is a volcanic mountain with 4 overlapping cones where eruptions of lava have come up at different periods of times. The mountain is not connected to any other nearby mountain, but stands alone in majestic beauty. Mount Shasta, like many amazing places, is the center of many stories, myths and legends including the story that a lost civilization lives in the center of the mountain. The dictionary says that a legend is a collection of stories which may be partly true, but also have some imaginary parts to it. They say I am a legend, what do you think?
“Are there really ghosts in ghost towns?” My friend Scamp was worried as we prowled around the abandoned buildings. No silly, it just means the town has been abandoned. It happens when a natural disaster happens such as drought or floods. A war could drive people from an area, or maybe the main business of the town like a mine or manufacturing plant closes. Sometimes a train will stop providing service or a freeway will change the traffic flow and leave a town isolated. The term was popularized when the California Gold Rush of 1849 ended, but there are ghost towns all over the world. Some have been preserved and have become tourist attractions or movie sets. Others have slowly drawn people back to live and work in the area. No need to be a “fraidy cat”, Scamp, we won’t be ghost hunting today. Purrs, Gulliver
Ready for a geology lesson? Geology is the study of the earth and how it was formed. Mt. Lassen is an active volcano which was born about 27,000 years ago. Scientists believe that with a lot of eruptions of lava, the volcano rose and reached its current height of over 10,000 feet in just a few years. The most recent eruption was just about 100 years ago starting in May 1914 and lasting until 1921. Because Mt Lassen is unique, it became a national park in 1916. Today visitors go hiking to Bumpass Hell, a stinky, noisy area in the park named after explorer Kendall Bumpass, who severely burned his leg after breaking through a thin crust of earth into a boiling pool. I saw the earth belch mud, steam that smelled of sulfur, and bubbling springs too hot to dip a paw into! Other parts of the park have beautiful forests and sparkling lakes which I enjoyed very much. Purrs, Gulliver
I was visiting Yosemite National Park and heard a legend from a local Native American tribe which explained how parts of Yosemite were created. Here is the story. Many, many years ago, a Native American couple lived in the desert around Mono Lake, California. Learning about the beautiful Valley of Ahwahnee, they decided to go there and make it their home. Along the way, the couple began to argue. The wife wanted to go back, the husband refused. They argued so loudly, the Creator grew angry and turned the two into stone. The husband became North Dome and the wife became Half Dome, two large rocks in what is now Yosemite National Park. The wife felt bad about the quarrel and the rock she became began to cry, creating Mirror Lake. In the local Paiute language she is known as T’ssikakka or Tissayack. Purrs, Gulliver
Sacramento is California’s State Capitol. It became a city in 1850, following a gold rush which brought many people to the area looking for gold. Sacramento was built between two rivers – the Sacramento River and the American River. In 1861 there were floods, and the Governor had to attend his inauguration in a row boat. The flood waters were so bad, the legend says, that when he returned to his house, he had to enter it through the second floor window! Here is a postcard of the State Capitol. Purrs, Gulliver
“Melting pot”: a place (such as a city or country) where different types of people live together and gradually create one community. USA is a land of immigrants, with many cities having a neighborhood or area that reminds immigrants and their families of food , arts and music of the places they left. Think Chinatown, little Italy, and even Solvang, which is an entire city built to look like Denmark did 100 years ago. There are copies of Danish windmills, statues of Hans Christian Andersen and the Little Mermaid, and homes that look like they are from Denmark. In addition, several restaurants and pastry shops serve Danish specialties like Æbleskiver “Pancake Puffs” which are traditional pancakes in a shape of an apple. The name literally means apple slices in Danish, and applesauce or bits of apple may be used in making the pancakes. What traditions, foods or sayings were passed down from your grandparents?
The General Sherman Tree is a giant sequoia. Sequoias only reproduce through seed, and this particular tree started growing 2,000 years ago in what is now the Kings Canyon National Park. The General Sherman tree is among the tallest, widest and longest-lived of all trees on the planet. The General Sherman tree is still growing and according to the California State Park’s website, “has added enough wood each year to construct a five or six room house. “ Purrs, Gulliver
The City by the Bay is one of my favorite cities, and I get to visit often because my cousin Gabby lives there. San Francisco was founded by Spaniards in 1776 – the same year as the start of the American Revolution. Last time I was there we scampered down to Fisherman’s Wharf to beg for fish, then rode the cable car up the hill. We got off at Lombard Street and watched the people drive down the crookedest street in the world. Gabby wanted to go to Alcatraz Island and see the old prison, but I was afraid they would lock us up and throw away the key! So we went to see the Golden Gate Bridge instead, which runs north to south, and has the Pacific Ocean on one side and the San Francisco Bay on the other. Purrs, Gulliver
Remember the Governor of California who had to go to his inauguration in a rowboat, and when he came home he had to climb through a second story window to get into his house? This is the house in Sacramento! He had a much bigger one in San Francisco called the Palace which burned down in 1906, and a horse farm in Palo A lot where he later developed a university named after his son – Leland Stanford Jr. University. After her husband died, Mrs. Stanford donated this house to a charity which ran an orphanage for many years. Now owned by the State of California, it is used as a museum and parties and meetings hosted by the current Governor. Purrs, Gulliver
A walking volcano? The Pinnacles rocks are all that’s left of 23,000,000-year-old Neenach Volcano. It once stood 8,000 feet high near what is now Lancaster, CA, 195 miles south. The San Andreas Fault ripped the old volcano in half and moves the land slowly north. It took the rocks a few million years to get here and according to the National Park Service, they’re still moving – about an inch per year. At that rate, they’ll be near where San Francisco is now in another 6 million years. The Pinnacles are a home for many kinds of wildlife, including the endangered California condor. These ancient birds can often be seen soaring on their 9 1/2-foot wide wings, looking for food. There are only about 425 California condors left in the world! Purrs, Gulliver